Apple’s $14.8 Million iCloud Storage Settlement: How to Find Out if You’re Owed Money

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Did you pay for an iCloud Plus subscription in 2015 or 2016? If so, Apple might owe you money: A $14.8 million  stemming from accusations the tech giant surreptitiously stored subscribers’ data on third-party servers received final approval in early August. 

The free version of Apple iCloud comes with 5GB of storage, but additional space requires a paid subscription. In 2019, plaintiffs in Williams v. Apple filed a complaint alleging Apple used outside servers to store data but made no mention of that in its marketing materials or digitechos terms and conditions. (The current iCloud does refer to third-party servers.)

The company did not admit to wrongdoing when it agreed to the settlement in January. A federal judge granted  on Aug. 4.

Apple did not respond to a request for comment.  

Here’s what you need to know about the iCloud settlement, including how to find out if you’re eligible, how much you can expect to receive and when payment will be sent out.

What was Apple accused of?

Plaintiffs in Williams v. Apple allege the company distributed data among third-party cloud services like Amazon Web Services, Google and Microsoft’s Azure platform — a violation of Apple’s own iCloud contract. 

In their complaint, the plaintiffs allege Apple «lacked the necessary infrastructure» to run iCloud and misrepresented the nature of its service, «merely reselling cloud storage space on cloud facilities of other entities.»

Customers wouldn’t have paid for a subscription if they knew Apple wasn’t providing storage directly, they claim, or they would have expected to pay a lot less. The alleged misrepresentation allowed Apple «to charge a premium for its iCloud service because subscribers placed a value on having the ‘Apple’ brand as the provider of the storage service,» according to the suit.

Who is eligible to be part of the iCloud storage settlement?

The settlement includes US residents who paid for an iCloud Plus subscription any time between Sept. 16, 2015, and Jan. 31, 2016, and had a US mailing address associated with their account. 

According to Apple, nearly 16.9 million people qualify as eligible class members.

During the settlement administration process, 20 people requested exclusion from the suit, although Apple accounts could only be verified for seven of them.

How do I find out if I qualify?

You don’t have to do anything. As long as the email you used to sign up for iCloud Plus storage is still active, you should have received a notification that you are an eligible recipient, or «class member.» The deadline has passed to submit a claim if you didn’t receive a notification but believe you are eligible.

How much can I receive in the settlement?

The gross settlement amount approved in August is $14,800,000.23.  How much will reach class members, though, will be determined after attorneys’ fees and administrative costs are deducted.The settlement agreement sets a cap of $2.4 million to cover «all costs and expenses related to the settlement administration functions to be performed by the Settlement Administrator.» Lawyers for the plaintiffs requested $4.93 million, or one-third of the settlement, in attorneys’ fees, but the court awarded them $3.7 million, or 25% of the settlement amount.

The exact amount of individual payments depends on how much storage you paid for, how long you had your subscription and the total number of people participating in the claim.

Read more: 

Don’t expect to retire on the payout, though: Between 2015 and 2016, a monthly iCloud subscription ranged from 50GB of storage for 99 cents to 200GB for $2.99 to 1TB for $9.99.

How will I be paid if I qualified?

Class members will receive payment automatically. If you still have a monthly iCloud Plus subscription, your payment will appear as a credit on your Apple account.

If you no longer have a monthly iCloud subscription you will receive a physical check in the mail or an electronic transfer directly into your bank account. 

When will payment in the Apple settlement go out?

Now that final approval has been granted and fees can be deducted, payments will be distributed to class members «as soon as possible,» according to the settlement website. Apple did not respond to a request for more specifics.

Want to find out about more class action settlements? See if you qualify for payouts from the , the $90 million  or the .

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